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20 Dec 2009

Senate passes critical Pentagon budget bill

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December 20, 2009 Category: Commentary Posted by:

updated 5:51 a.m. PT, Sat., Dec . 19, 2009
WASHINGTON – The Senate will send President Barack Obama a critical budget bill that combines money for the Pentagon with additional help for the jobless.

Senators meeting Saturday in the midst of a snow storm cleared their plate of unfinished business as the legislative calendar ran out for 2009.

The 88-10 vote means the Senate can return to the acrimonious debate on health care. Democrats hope to pass that bill before Christmas.

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The $626 billion defense bill contained $128 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and a 3.4 percent pay raise for the military.

It also included two-month extensions of unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless. There were health care subsidies for people out of work, along with money for highways and transit systems.

Please check back for details on this breaking news story.

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© 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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